Script Kiddies: How Low-Level Hackers Can Cause Big Problems

by Kevin on December 28, 2016

Not all hackers are created equal. At any given time, your business could be targeted by a lone wolf hacker or black hat collective; each pose a threat to your thriving business. But did you know that the tools needed to crash your site and operations are available to nearly anyone for little to no costs?

It’s scary to think about, but it’s true. Script kiddies, sometimes referred to as skids or script bunnies, are individuals generally unskilled in technology or hacking, yet are able to take advantage of downloadable hacking software, or scripts, capable of launching attacks as they see fit.

As mentioned before, these scripts are available on the dark net along with a plethora of how-to resources, known exploits and vulnerabilities. And just because these low-level neophytes aren’t quiet as proficient as their experienced counterparts, it doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous to your organization.

In fact, the massive-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn domain name system (DNS) that crashed some of the world’s most popular websites including Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Spotify and PayPal was likely due to the actions of a script kiddie hacker. Motivations for such a large attack have yet to be revealed, but could be linked to a disgruntled skiddie resulting in total overkill.

In a 2005 report conducted for the U.S. Department of Defense, script kiddies are described as “immature, but unfortunately often just as dangerous exploiter of security lapses on the Internet. The typical script kiddy uses existing and frequently well-known and easy-to-find techniques and programs or scripts to search for and exploit weaknesses in other computers on the Internet—often randomly and with little regard or perhaps even understanding of the potentially harmful consequences.”

Script kiddies are especially dangerous for a few reasons. First, they are entirely unpredictable and their motivations can range from curiosity to vindictive grandstanding. Secondly, their knowledge of technology is shakier than more experienced hackers and their attack can result in something more serious than intended.

Weapons in the script kiddies’ arsenal can include DDoS attacks, phishing scams, various types of malware (including Trojan programs and ransomware), content scraping software and much more. Thankfully, there are easy ways to avoid or block incident.

First, protect yourself by updating your software and plugins regularly as the scripts used by skids are often patched by providers. If you neglect to update you could be opening your network up to known risks for rather unskilled hackers.

Additionally, you may want to safeguard your assets with cyberattack insurance from a reputable provider. No cybersecurity plan is perfect, which is why many small businesses are investing in cyberattack insurance. Whether you are recovering from financial fraud due to a black hat hacker or losing business due to a DDoS attack, cyberattack insurance can help you pick up the pieces.

Finally, one of the best defenses you have against any hacker is education. Cybercriminals, and especially skiddies, typically resort to the same old tricks time and time again. By following a handful of key cybersecurity best practices, you can maintain your privacy against a slew of attacks.

Here are a few examples:

  • Avoid opening links, emails, attachments or downloads from unfamiliar sources.
  • Use better password protocol on all your accounts and refrain from reusing passwords for any site or service.
  • Never use unprotected public Wi-Fi. If you do, please don’t be foolish enough to share your banking or financial information over this connection.
  • Only transfer data over encrypted sites and services. Unsure if it’s encrypted? Ask your IT professional or look for the ‘https’ in the address bar.

Now you know a few tips and tricks to thwart low-level hackers, and knowing is half the battle! Don’t delay. Take the necessary precautions today to protect your most valuable digital assets.

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